Category: shelter cats

The Obsession With Chonky Cats Has Gone Too Far

Metro’s editors want more fat cats.

The newspaper recently profiled Manson, a 28-pound behemoth who lives with his humans in Silver Spring, Maryland, but the god of internet traffic is never sated, so the story ends with a request — or challenge — for more morbidly obese pets to drive clicks.

“Do you have a pet who’s even chunkier than Manson? Get in touch to share their story,” Metro’s editors write.

You know things have gotten out of hand when readers and editors alike respond to a story about a kitty almost three times the weight of a normal feline with a collective “Eh, that’s all? Show us a fatter one!”

In the world of Online Famous felines, popularity is directly proportional to fat, inspiring a caloric arms race among those seeking fleeting fame from fickle followers.

Indeed, the Metro story notes that while two-year-old Manson can’t hop up onto his humans’ bed without assistance, he’s amassed more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, as if an abstract measure of online “fame” — which he can never comprehend and makes absolutely no difference to him — counterbalances the maladies he’ll suffer due to his weight.

People apparently think it’s funny to see a two-year-old cat who can do little more than nap, eat and roll himself around the house. Anyone who expresses alarm for the welfare of the cat is a “troll” or a hater, according to the Metro article.

Are people stuffing their cats for followers and upvotes?

There’s really no way to determine that short of cat owners admitting it. Manson’s owners say they see no problem with their cat’s diet.

Most of these “chonky cat” stories come from shelters, where staff and volunteers are left with the hard problem of getting huge furballs to slim down after they’ve been abandoned by their humans or orphaned due to owner death. That was the case with Bazooka, a 35-pound ginger tabby whose owner had dementia and fed the cat constantly.

“[Bazooka’s owner] thought he was doing the best thing for his cat by feeding him,” an SPCA spokeswoman said at the time. “We need to look on this with a compassionate view. He was loved.”

Those viral chonky cat stories have been a boon to shelters, highlighting the good work they do and driving donations from cat lovers and well-wishers.

But those shelters are trying to get the cats in their care to lose weight, not pack on the pounds. That’s because they see first-hand what morbid obesity can do to a cat’s quality of life and life expectancy.

As for the rest of us, we should probably rethink our tendency to reward the owners of massive cats with our attention.

Cat Who Was Shot In Head With Arrow Finds A Loving Home

Google News is a wonderful thing if you put it to good use.

A handful of alerts keep me abreast of cat-related news, arming me with potential topics and stories to share with you, the readers of Pain In The Bud.

Unfortunately when it comes to cat news, bad comes with the good. Lots of it.

For every story about lovable chonksters, cute kittens or miraculous reunions with lost cats, there are articles about dying felines rescued from hoarding situations, future serial killers torturing innocent animals and lunatics putting cats in microwaves.

Sometimes I have to stop, click off the browser and go find something to distract me from how disgusting the human race can be.

That’s why I’ve taken a pass on writing about Cupid the Cat — until now. (The story has a happy ending, thankfully.)

Last month, a Good Samaritan contacted the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Virginia, about a stray cat suffering from a horrific injury: The poor boy had been shot in the head with an arrow, leaving the shaft protruding from the side of his face.

The cat’s rescuers dubbed him Cupid because he was found on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, and appealed to the public for help to cover the costs of several surgeries little Cupid would need to survive.

Despite the horrific act of violence committed against him by humans, and despite the pain he was enduring, Cupid was happy to see his rescuers, Chelsea Jones of the Animal Welfare League said.

“When he arrived and we opened his crate, we’re kind of shocked to see this cat with an arrow shaft sticking out of his face, is making biscuits …. That’s when cats knead their paws,” she said. “It’s a very comforting, positive behavior. And he was purring, and he wanted us to scratch his tummy and his chin. And we just could not believe that this cat was being so affectionate and friendly in how much pain he must be in.”

“So, it was kind of right there and then,” Jones said, “we were like, ‘We gotta call this guy Cupid.’”

Veterinarians worked for several hours to remove the arrow, clean the wound and stitch the little guy back up, putting him on antibiotics and painkillers. The arrow miraculously missed Cupid’s brain, eyes and other vital organs, but his rescuers feared he could succumb to a serious infection from the wound.

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Cupid was placed on antibiotics and pain killers after his surgery. Credit: Arlington Animal Welfare League

The Animal Welfare League put out an emergency appeal for $6,500 to cover the cost of Cupid’s surgery. Well-wishers covered the cost within hours, and by week’s end the League had taken in more than $87,000, allowing it to fund life-saving surgery for two other animals in addition to Cupid.

The young cat fought hard and recovered from his wounds, and after whittling down dozens of applications to 14 finalists, the League held a drawing.

“It would be amazing if we could send him home with everyone but only one lucky person gets to take cupid home,” Jones said.

Well, two people: Cupid went home with a loving couple from the Washington, DC, area. No more cold, no more hunger, no more loneliness — and protection from the kind of horrible people who would hurt an innocent animal. Congratulations to Cupid on getting better and finding a forever home!

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Cupid finally has a home — and humans — of his own after an incredible ordeal and a rough start to life. Credit: Arlington Animal Welfare League

Shelter Throws A Birthday Party For An Adoptable Cat, No One Shows Up

To our British readers,

Employees at a South London shelter threw a birthday party for a two-year-old cat who’s been in the shelter for 115 days, and not one of you jerks showed up.

Look at her. Just look at this beautiful tabby girl, hopeless and dejected because none of you soulless people could find it in your heart to drop by for a cuppa and kibble. Notice the sad little eyes, their accusatory glance seeming to say: “You’ve failed me, British people! I just wanted a forever home!”

I mean, we all know you guys can be cold, but who thought you’d be this heartless and cruel?

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Poor Monique had no one to celebrate with. Credit: Battersea Dogs and Cats

Has our guilt trip made you feel bad yet? 🙂

On a more serious note, this was actually a clever move by the shelter, Battersea Dogs and Cats. With tens of thousands of adoptable animals on sites like Petfinder and Craigslist, and every rescue contending for attention, shelter staff have to think creatively to break through the noise and help get their strays and abandoned pets into real homes.

In 2020, the cat who becomes a meme is rewarded with a home of her own, and the shelter also benefits with a bump in exposure and potential new donors.

In that sense, the birthday party didn’t fail at all: Monqiue the tabby will almost certainly find a real home soon thanks to follow-up articles and the attention they’ve brought to her story.

CATS GOING VIRAL

We’ve seen plenty of shelter stories go viral over the past year: There was Nevada, the sweet abandoned tabby who just wanted a hug, a surrender named Barsik who was dubbed “New York’s fattest cat” at a whopping 41 pounds, a fellow Chonkster named Bazooka whose dementia-inflicted former human fed him constantly, and Plankton, who proved good things come to those who wait when he finally found a home after 2,432 days at a New York shelter.

Perhaps the best example of clever cat marketing was a North Carolina rescue’s adoption ad for the “world’s worst cat.” The scowling black-and-white Perdita was a “jerk,” according to Mitchell County Animal Shelter’s sarcastic and highly amusing ad.

The listing worked, quickly going viral on Facebook and prompting more than 50 local applications within 24 hours.

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Perdita quickly found a forever home thanks to her viral post. Credit: Mitchell County Animal Shelter

Monique has tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, according to the shelter, and undoubtedly her bad luck can be chalked up to fewer adopters willing to take a cat with FIV. Despite that, Monique is expected to live a long and full life.

Here’s to hoping she finds her very own humans soon.

All photos courtesy of Battersea Dog and Cats. Click the thumbnails for larger versions: